When one thinks about Dark Shadows, you quickly come to realise that it isn’t horror in the conventional sense, sure, there are Vampires, Werewolves, Witches, and Ghosts but there is something else about it, almost something romantic. It has the feel of an old dusty book with stories more concerned about the loss of potential or lost souls rather than ghosts and ghoulies.
And Dark Shadows is everything, it is the empty, dark school at night, the creepy house on the hill, the OAP who the kids think is a witch. But it is also about love, the loss of a love, the gain of the love, the love that never was. This is what Love Lives On grabs with both hands and runs with.
Tuesdays and Thursdays
Kicking off this new anthology release is Tuesdays and Thursdays which concerns Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes who seems to continuously encounter the local psychic, Janet Findly, over and over again…
Matthew Waterhouse (Adric from Doctor Who) is quickly becoming a main fixture in the world of Dark Shadows. Having listened to a couple of his previous outings, you really know he has finally found his niche and he gives a brilliant performance, painting vivid images with real ease. You could quite cheerfully sit there and listen to him read the phonebook.
At first, the meetings between Stokes and Findly seem like nothing more than pure coincidence, but as Waterhouse and author, Cody Schell tells us, there is no such thing as coincidences in Collinsport.
Tuesdays and Thursdays kicks this new anthology off on a high and is a charming beginning as well as being great fun to listen too as we hear Stokes becoming more and more enamoured with Findly. While this isn’t the big, rip-roaring summer rom-com that we might expect from something with a summer release date, it delights in its more autumnal somber tone and certainly feels more in keeping with the traditions of Dark Shadows.
The Velvet Room
The second story takes us quickly from charm to sheer terror. The Velvet Room is obviously the opposite of the previous story and has a much more claustrophobic and intense feel about it.
This tale concerns Gerard Stiles and Hallie Stokes, who find themselves with the offer of their hearts desire at a club mysteriously called the Velvet Room. It all seems simple enough. All they must do is visit three times and tell us the stories of their strange lives before they are given what they really want.
The Velvet Room has the feel of a real old Hollywood horror movie. The denizens of the Velvet Room are particularly interesting and the setting is suitably macabre. It is a story that certainly ticks all the horror boxes.
And this already strong story is made even better by the narration from James Storm, whose brilliant performance gives us an even stronger look at the life of the anguished and desperate undead Gerard Stiles.
Behind Closed Doors
This is a story that is designed to remind us that the most appalling of horror stories never really concerns Vampires or Witches but those horrors which surround us in the very real world. It is that of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man.
This is used to transport Dark Shadows into a new dimension of sheer terror to the subject of domestic abuse. Narrator, Marie Wallace, gives us a tour de force of a performance as Jessica Griffin, a woman on the cusp of pure happiness with husband-to-be, Willie Loomis. But she is still haunted by the memory of her dead and abusive ex-husband.
Being Dark Shadows, death doesn’t really mean a lot and following a particularly hard day in her bar, Jessica receives a terrifying visit from the man who tried to control her with an iron fist.
This tale is a tense half-hour, as we relive the awful life that Jessica had lived before the death of her first husband.
Behind Closed Doors is easily the strongest tale of this set and is a really unsettling piece to listen to but is a story that deserves the time devoted to it and needs to be heard to really be appreciated.
This anthology set is drawn to a close with the story of Cyrus and Sabrina Longworth, owners of the local Collinport Inn, where a mysterious guest arrives claiming to be a traveling cosmetics seller. But of course, the suitcase is something else entirely and is much deadlier than it first appears.
The story works as a cautionary one, concerning the idea that one should be careful what you wish for as Sabrina’s deepest, innermost desires seem to be being granted.
But is there a steep price?
Surely there must be a price?
The Suitcase continues the theme of love, relationships, loss and longing that permeates this release and we end the set on a touch of melancholy.
And what is Dark Shadows without a touch of melancholy…
Blogtor Rating: 9/10
Four tales of horror, romance, and intrigue…
Tuesdays and Thursdays by Cody Schell
Professor Timothy Eliot Stokes lives a quiet, ordered life. But that order is about to be shattered as he finds himself encountering psychic medium Janet Findley over and over and over again…
The Velvet Room by Antonio Rastelli
Gerard Stiles has returned from the dead and, together with Hallie Stokes, is traveling the world attempting to defeat all manner of supernatural forces. But on a night in New Orleans, they are about to receive an invitation to gain their hearts’ desires…
Behind Closed Doors by Paul Phipps
Jessica Griffin buried her past a long time ago. But in Collinsport, secrets don’t stay buried for long. On the longest night of her life, Jessica will discover the cruel truth behind the lie that is “’til death do us part…”
The Suitcase by Alan Flanagan
Sabrina and Cyrus Longworth seem to have everything they could wish for – happily married, running the Collinsport Inn, and about to start a family. But when mysterious woman checks in they’ll discover that not all guests should be welcomed, and not all wishes should come true…
Written By: Cody Schell, Antoni Rastelli, Paul Phipps, Alan Flanagan
Directed By: Darren Gross, Joseph Lidster, Jim Pierson
Starring: Matthew Waterhouse, James Storm, Marie Wallace, Lisa Richards